5 Weird Theories About Life on Earth

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Every discipline of science has its accompanying branch of pseudoscience. Chemistry has alchemy. Astronomy has astrology. There are those who would even refute Relativity and Newtonian gravity despite evidence to the contrary. Real science has predictive power, the ability to state something about the reality of the universe. And while scientists of old often financed their research by dabbling in astrology, alchemy and numerology, modern science has long sense parted ways with these black arts. Still, fringe ideas continue to persist and seem to find new niches to thrive and grow on the Internet. Just check out some of these very strange ideas about the Earth that persist to this day.


Some people hold very strange theories about the Earth; Cayusa

5. The Flat Earth Society Lives on in the 21st Century

Yes, there really is a Flat Earth Society, alive and well in modern times. Adherents are able to contrive an answer for every experiment and object to every argument placed before them. Of course, it’s tough to understand just how the shadow of the Earth would always appear round during a lunar eclipse as seen from a flat world, or how satellite launches would work in a flat worldview. Oh, not to mention all those photographs astronauts and satellites have taken that show a very spheroid-shaped Earth … perhaps Flat Earth adherents find it convenient to believe the entire Space Age is a hoax as well. Contrary to popular belief, most educated people even in Columbus’ time knew the Earth was round. The Greeks knew this even earlier, and Eratosthenes of Cyrene made a fairly accurate measurement of the Earth’s circumference in the 2nd century BC by noting the differences in shadow angles on the summer solstice from two different locations.


4. There’s a “Counter Earth” On Far Side of the Sun

There seems to be no shortage of “alternate Earths” out there, such as Flat Earths, Hollow Earths, Earths on the back of an elephant on the back of a camel on the back of a turtle… or maybe it’s just “turtles all the way down?” One idea that crops up occasionally is that there is a parallel Earth that we never see, because it’s perfectly balanced in an identical orbit opposite to our own on the other side of the Sun. The 2011 movie Another Earth even depicted such a scenario.

But this is also highly improbable. From the perspective of celestial mechanics, it would be nearly impossible for two large planets to stay precisely balanced on either side of the same orbit. Trojan asteroids that follow the Earth have been discovered over the past few years, but these are tiny rocks caught in temporary orbital resonances with our planet. Plus, we now have robotic explorers giving us views from different vantage points in the solar system, and a counter Earth has yet to be spotted.


3. Dinosaurs and Humans Coexisted

Everyone from the Flintstones to the Land of the Lost gets this one wrong. The idea that man coexisted with giants sprung from early discoveries of dinosaur bones in medieval times. This gave rise to legends of giants, which in turn had to be reconciled with the prevailing worldview that the Earth was at most only a few thousand years old. We now know though multiple lines of scientific evidence that the last dinosaur walked the Earth more than 64 million years before modern humans came on the scene. To be sure, we did coexist with giants, in the form of woolly mammoths, saber-toothed cats and armadillos the size of Volkswagens. These roamed North America right up until a more recent extinction in the Younger Dryas Cold Event (aka the “Big Freeze”) began about 12,800 years ago. Think how much more exciting camping would be if they existed today.

But this evidence hasn’t stopped the Institute for Creation Research from espousing a 6,000-year-old Earth, complete with humans and dinosaurs living side by side. You can even see such a Flintstone-esque worldview at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.


2. The Earth is Hollow

What is it about our fair planet that brings the junk science out of the woodwork? Hollow Earth proponents claim that our world is but a thin shell with an emptied-out interior. There are many variations on this theory; in one, man exists on the interior of the Earth, complete with the Sun, Moon and planets. Of course, how the astronomy of an “inside out” Earth would work is never made clear. The idea of a separate subterranean realm such as depicted by Hollywood in Journey to the Center of the Earth is a tiny bit more plausible … that is, if you can ignore seismic data to the contrary. Plus, there would then be the dilemma of the Earth’s “missing mass” to deal with. The idea has its roots in ancient mythology, such as the Greek ideas of the underworld of Hades or Norse concepts of a multi-tiered Earth. The idea of a Hollow Earth gained resurgence with the 1906 publication of Phantom of the Poles by William Reed. Reed’s outlandish theory, that the Earth had holes at each of its poles, was soon disproven when polar explorers found no such entries to Earth’s interior. Still, the Hollow Earth concept lives on; some conspiracy theorists have tried to link Atlantis, UFOs and ancient aliens to the Hollow Earth idea. And speaking of conspiracy theories …


1. Hidden Reptilian Humanoid Forms Dominate the World

Are the aliens already among us, biding their time and setting up a one-world government? This is just one of many far-out ideas first proposed by British conspiracy theorist David Icke in his 1999 book, The Biggest Secret. If they are indeed here, they seem to be strangely bipartisan, as everyone from Al Gore to George Bush (both Senior and Junior) has been suspected of actually being a cold-blooded, scaly-skinned overlord. Even Boxcar Willie has been suspected of being a reptilian creature among us (maybe this explains why his music was “not available in stores.”)

Should we welcome our reptiloid masters? In these trying times, perhaps they could successfully bridge the gulf in Congress between Republican and Democrat. Reptiloid aliens played a significant role in the plot of the X-Files, and even made an “appearance” in the close 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate election between Al Franken and Norm Coleman, as one challenged ballot included both a vote for Franken and a write-in for the “Lizard People.”

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David Dickinson is a backyard astronomer, science educator and retired military veteran. He lives in Hudson, Fla., with his wife, Myscha, and their dog, Maggie. He blogs about astronomy, science and science fiction at www.astroguyz.com.